Archive for the ‘Performance’ Category
05.07.2012 DorobekINSIDER: And the SAMMIES nominees are…; EPA turns trash into energy; and the Newseum’s New Media Gallery
On today’s program for Monday May 7th, 2012:
- The nominees are in for the Oscars for Federal Employees — The Service to America Medals award.
- Turning garbage into energy at the EPA — just one of the amazing SAMMIES nominees.
- Taking an inside virtual tour of the Newseum’s new media gallery here in Washington… and what it means for government.
Big federal government contracting news this morning: GTSI, which government marketing guru Mark Amtower called the grand-daddy of government resellers, is being sold. GTSI announced this morning that Unicom, based in Los Angeles, is buying the company for $77 million. Washington Technology says it is quite a fall from grace for the company, particularly after the company’s run-in with the Small Business Administration over its small business sales.
Did you see 60 Minutes last night? CBS News correspondent Leslie Stall spoke to two Air Force pilots who refuse to fly the F-22 Raptor — the most expensive fighter ever — because it has been plagued by a mysterious flaw that causes its pilots to become disoriented, apparently from a lack of oxygen.
- 12.1 — that’s the percentage of spending cuts agencies could see next January if Congress does not come up with an alternative to sequestration. Federal News Radio says the cuts are based on agencies’ fiscal 2012 discretionary budgets. The Budget Control Act passed last August called for reducing federal spending by $1.2 trillion over the next decade with half of the cuts come from defense spending. Congress returns today, and the House will take up an alternative to sequestration.
- There could be another rounds of base closures. The Washington Post says the Defense Department is gearing up for consolidation once again, putting local companies and lobbying firms on alert. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta says that despite the controversy that normally surrounds such moves, “it is the only effective way to achieve infrastructure savings.”
- Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement intelligence chief James Woosley pleaded guilty for part in a scheme to file almost $600,000 in false travel expense reports for contractors. MSNBC says Woosley must surrender over $180,000 of his profits in a scheme that also included several other ICE employees and contractors. He faces 18 to 27 months in jail and a potential fine.
- We told you about this last week, but the Washington Post is reporting this morning that the Air Force plans to restart the IT contracts after protests from losing companies. The April 16 award for network equipment is valued at $6.9 billion. General Dynamics and technology company GTSIwere among nine contractors picked to share the network equipment contract. The Government Accountability Office says the Harris Corp and Dell, were two of those contractors challenging the deal.
- Speaking of contracting – government relationships….The White House has just released a second round of advice for how government and its contractors can communicate more freely. Federal News Radio says the announcement is part of a new memo from the Office of Federal Procurement Policy that outlines eight myths plus eight realities to dispose of them. The so-called Mythbusters 2 is signed by acting procurement chief Lesley Field. The new memo emphasized industry misconceptions. The original 2010 Mythbusters memo dealt with myths held by government.
- ‘Tis not the season—to be moving Christmas trees, that is. The National Christmas Tree succumbed to “transplant shock” after being moved from the White House lawn, the National Park Service reported Saturday. The Park Service says it already has a replacement in mind for the Colorado blue spruce that occupied a spot on the White House’s South Lawn, and it will be in place by the time the holiday season rolls around next winter. The new tree reportedly will not be planted until October.
- And on GovLoop, we go myth busting with the federal sector equal employment opportunity (EEO) complaint process. Yeah, it doesn’t sound like all that much fun. But it’s an important part of government that many people don’t understand. We separate fact from fiction in a post by GovLoop member David Grinberg.
A Few Closing Items:
- It hasn’t happened since Richard Nixon was president — the government shrank. The New York Times’ Floyd Norris reports that for the first time in 40 years, the government sector of the American economy has shrunk during the first three years of a presidential administration. Spending by the federal government, adjusted for inflation, has risen at a slow rate under President Obama. That increase has been more than offset by a fall in spending by state and local governments, which have been squeezed by weak tax receipts. In the first quarter of this year, the real gross domestic product for the government — including state and local governments as well as federal — was 2 percent lower than it was three years earlier, when Barack Obama took office in early 2009, the Times says. The last time the government actually got smaller over the first three years of a presidential term was when Richard M. Nixon was president. That decrease was largely because of declining spending on the Vietnam War.
- A budget update:The Hill reports that House Republicans will bring their budget up for a vote this week. The Hill says that House lawmakers will return to a familiar debate over the deficit when they come back to Washington today. Republican leaders are planning to bring up a $260 billion measure to slash the budget gap and replace across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect in 2013. And we mentioned this earlier, but… The bill, known as a ‘reconciliation’ proposal, is the product of six House committees and will be combined into one piece of legislation by the House Budget Committee… Principally, the GOP measure would replace $78 billion in sequestered cuts resulting from the failure of the congressional ‘supercommittee’ to strike a bipartisan deficit deal last fall… In addition to the $78 billion in sequester replacement, the bill contains an additional $180 billion in cuts aimed at reducing the deficit. Among the federal programs hit are food stamps, funding for the 2010 healthcare and financial regulatory laws and the refundable child tax credit.
- The Human Capital League has a wonderful post… Top 10 HR Lessons from Star Wars -Number 10: Nepotism doesn’t work… and they have Darth Vader saying, ‘Luke, you know, I really think you should reconsider Imperial employment. We pay competitively, and we have a great benefits package.
04.10.2012 DorobekINSIDER: The STOCK Act impact on senior executives; leadership lessons from presidents; and libraries 2.0
There are so many good, interesting stories about government doing good — and those stories are out there, but… we start again today with GSA. Yet another GSA official has been put on leave. The second in command of GSA’s Public Building Service has been placed on leave in the wake of the 2010 conference. The Washington Post reports that David Foley is the fourth senior official at the agency to get swept up as a result of the incident. Desa Sealy was appointed interim deputy commissioner. Linda Chero is acting commissioner, coming in from the Mid-Atlantic region. And lawmakers in both parties are calling for hearings.
The Washington Post’s Joe Davidson says today that all feds pay the price for the GSA scandal. “Workers throughout the government will pay a price, too, and it will continue long after the news releases stop,” Davidson says, and he quotes a note from the Washington Post story that broke the news. That federal employee said:
“Unfortunately for those of us in agencies where a. we don’t have money for conferences to begin with, and b. we aren’t even allowed funds to buy coffee when we have on site meetings, the result of the GSA excesses will be increased scrutiny of all travel and training requests. So all of us, honest thrifty agencies included, will have to jump through more hoops and spend more time justifying everything we do.”
And just to further Joe Davidson’s point: Bloomberg has a story about a Justice Department event, including one in Instanbul on drug enforcement, that cost almost twice as much.
We can only hope that cooler, more rational people will make the case that it is important for government employees get out of their office — to learn, to speak to people. But it is also a reminder that almost every action you take is going to be assessed, analyzed, and yes, critiqued, so these events are going to have to be tied to the mission in some way, shape or form.
One final GSA note before we move on: A blast from GSA’s past, and yes, we mean a blast, in every sense of that word: Former GSA Administrator Lurita Doan appeared on Fox and Friends to offer her thoughts on the GSA situation. And Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson credited Doan for running a tight ship.
One has to remember Doan was fired by the Bush administration not for a contract that she tried to give to her friend that was never awarded, as Fox News suggested. Nor was she fired for allegations that she used her position in the administration to help Republican candidates. She was fired for her mismanagement of the agency. There are many things that can be said about Lurita Doan — and many of the things that were said were unfair. But she did not help GSA — and she did not run a tight ship.
And we all remember this…
GSA aside, we have a good program for you today…
- The STOCK Act… We mentioned this yesterday. This is the law signed by President Obama last week. http://1.usa.gov/HZVlEA Did you know it has some real implications for federal senior executives? I’ve received a bunch of calls and notes about this. We’ll get insights from Bill Bransford, a partner at Bransford and Roth and the attorney for the Senior Executives Assocation.
- Leadership lessons from presidents. We’ll talk to the author of a new book that looks at five presidential leadership qualities with its author Michael Eric Siegel.
- And libraries. They have always played a unique role in communities, but that role is changing — and quickly. We’ll talk to somebody who has looked at how libraries are doing more with less… and are remaining relevant… and surviving.
All that ahead…
But after the break… we start with the stories that impact your life for Tuesday the 10 of April, 2012… your government world in 120-seconds…
03.22.2012 DorobekINSIDER: Disruptive innovation with Deloitte’s Bill Eggers; creating Ethics.gov and Virginia Decoded
We start off with a topic we come to so often… your money…
The House Budget Committee passed the Republican version of the fiscal 2013 budget yesterday — but just barely. Ezra Klein in the Washington Post’s WonkBlog notes that the House Budget Committee has 38 members — 22 Republicans and 16 Democrats. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the chairman of the House Budget Committee, is the man who has in many ways defined the conservative approach to the federal budget… and yet the Ryan budget passed by only one vote.
Some of that leads the Wall Street Journal to suggest we may be headed to… yes, you know it — a government shutdown… even in the weeks before the election. The Journal says the budget act passed last year has been coming apart in pieces and the disagreements between the White House and congressional Republicans over spending levels has heightened the chance of a government shutdown just weeks before the November election. The budget agreement signed into law last August was supposed to help avoid such a showdown, but today, it seems possible. And the Journal says the flashpoint came this week Congressman Ryan called for more than $1 trillion in discretionary spending for the year beginning Oct. 1. That represents $19 billion less than the level agreed to with the White House last year and put into law.
We’ll watch it carefully, of course… we always try to stay away from shutdown hype, but even the talk impacts how government operates, so we’ll keep an eye on it.
On today’s program…
- Disruptive innovation. What is it… and what does it mean for you? We’ll talk to one of the smartest people I know… one of the real thinkers… Deloitte’s Bill Eggers, author of If We Can Put a Man on the Moon: Getting Big Things Done in Government…
- You’ll meet the Johnny Appleseed of open source — and the man who created Ethics.gov. He also created the site Virginia Decoded, which has been described as the “prettiest state code” you’ve seen. We’ll tell you about that.
All that ahead…
But after the break, as we do each day, we start with the stories that impact your life for Thursday the 22 of March, 2012… your government world in 120-seconds…
Hey there — I’m Christopher Dorobek — the DorobekINSIDER — welcome to GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek… where each week, our goal is to find an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days… and we work to find an issue that will also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. And, as always, we focus on six words: helping you do your job better.
This week also closes out the first week that we have done daily shows — yes, GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER comes to you every day now. While your feeding yourself at lunch each day, you can also feed your mind… or you can take us with you whoever you go. And We got to do some fun stuff this week. We spoke to officials at the Santa Cruz Police Department about how they are using all the data that they already have — big data — to actually do their job better. Really amazing stuff. And we got to learn about an international search effort that will go later this month that will test how the power of networks can help you do your job better… and it’s all made possible as a result of a State Department grant. Pretty amazing. And we got to talk to Linda Cureton about leadership… and about the nature of leadership.
But our issue of the week this week is a different take on all that information coming at us… and the impact it has, particularly on the Mellinials — those young people who don’t remember phones with cords — but they also have a ripple effect on all of us. Pew has a new report out this week and we’ll talk to one of the researchers.
Also ahead on the program… We’ll also have your weekend reading list — the weekends are a good time to rejuvenate — but also some time to take a step back and ponder. And we’ll have some reading that may guide you as you work to think outside of the box. And we actually have a video for you that may just remind you why you do what you do each day.
All of that just ahead… after the break…
Each week, our goal is to where each week, our goal is to find an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days… and we work to find an issue that will also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. And, as always, we focus on six words: helping you do your job better.
This week, we’re going to get geeky… we’re going to embrace our inner nerd. This week was the annual gadget-a-thon known as CES — the Consumer Electronics Show out in Las Vegas. I got to attend for the first time this year — both to CES and CES Government. One of the key speakers was Steve VanRoekel, the federal chief information officer. And later on, we’ll have highlights of his speech, and talk about what it means for you.
Also later on, we’ll have our weekend reading list — the weekends are a good time to rejuvenate — but also some time to take a step back and ponder. And we’ll have some reading that may guide you as you work to think outside of the box.
But after the break, we’ll have our look at the week that was for the second week of January 2012… plus the full Week in Review…
Federal workers and contractors seemly have dodged yet another shutdown — I’ve actually lost count about how many there have been this year. (Federal Computer Week says there have been five.)
Last night, I was invited to the annual holiday party hosted by ASI Government, formerly Acquisition Solutions. Not surprising, the buzz of the night was about… the change of leadership at ASI Government — former Agriculture Department CIO Anne Reed stepping into the role of chairwoman after seven years, and Kimberly “Kymm” McCabe has taken over the role as ASI Government’s President and Chief Executive Officer…
McCabe specifically mentioned the end of the war in Iraq…
But most of the focus was on… the then potential of a government shutdown. Last night, as the festivities were going on, there seemed to be progress toward a resolution, but it was only late last night that the sides announced they had found common ground. But there was still interesting discussion around the topic. One person — now in industry after a distinguished government career — said that the shutdown threat had almost become SOP. It has become standard operating procedure. Yet several govies showed up late specifically because they were working on shutdown contingency plans.
But 1105 President Anne Armstrong asked about the costs of all this.
The short answer is… there is no easy answer.
The Congressional Research Service actually looked at the shutdown issue back in September 1995.
The estimated costs of shutting down the federal government during a lapse in appropriations are incomplete and sketchy at best. That is especially true in the brief shutdown periods that occurred prior to 1995. In those federal shutdown experiences, the General Accounting Office (GAO) attempted to evaluate such government-wide costs, but incomplete and lack of response by various agencies hampered this undertaking. Certain limited costs have been identified over the years, however. GAO found costs of about $1 million resulting from having to issue split or late paychecks in October 1979 and approximately $1.1 million from having to prepare agency shutdown plans in 1980.
In 1991, GAO found that the estimated partial costs for the federal government shutdown over the Columbus Day Holiday week-end in 1990 was $1.7 million.
There have been two other CRS reports — one on September 27, 2010: Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effects. The other is more of a round-up of information about shutdowns from April 8, 2011: Past Government Shutdowns: Key Resources.
Regardless, there was almost uniform agreement among government insiders that the shutdown threats, ongoing continuing resolutions and general budget upheaval have an enormous impact on the government’s ability to accomplish agency missions. (Going out on a limb there, aren’t we?)
To be honest, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has seemed to put forward 12 fairly reasonable principles for the discussion — regardless of political viewpoint.
The 12 principles are:
- Make Deficit Reduction a Top Priority.
- Propose Specific Fiscal Targets.
- Recommend Specific Policies to Achieve the Targets.
- Do No Harm.
- Use Honest Numbers and Avoid Budget Gimmicks.
- Do Not Perpetuate Budget Myths.
- Do Not Attack Someone Else’s Plan Without Putting Forward an Alternative.
- Refrain From Pledges That Take Policies Off the Table.
- Propose Specific Solutions for Social Security, Health Care, and the Tax Code.
- Offer Solutions for Temporary and Expiring Policies.
- Encourage Congress to Come Up With a Budget Reform Plan as Quickly as Possible.
- Remain Open to Bipartisan Compromise.
Find the September 1997 CRS report after the break…
Our issue of the week is about you doing your job better.But, before we get to that… our round-up of the stories that made news for the third week of October 2011…
And we start with your money… where there were were a number of stories. We lead, of course, with the talk — and the likelihood — that pay for feds will be frozen for the third year. The Washington Post says that Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), the chairman of and ranking member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, are also suggesting that the way that feds retirement befits are calculated should be recalculated. And Federal Times notes that the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), and other Republican members on the panel called on the budget supercommittee to extend the federal pay freeze through 2015. They also called on the supercommittee to permanently end “non-performance-based” step increases.
Speaking of that budget supercommittee: Many eyes still watching the work that is going on behind closed doors on Capitol Hill. The Washington Post says there is growing unease that the supercommittee might not do much of anything.
Meanwhile the U-S intelligence agencies are bracing for big budget cuts, Wired’s Danger Room blog reports. The intelligence community is facing a “double digit” percentage cut to its $80 billion annual budget, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said at a conference this week.
And the age of austerity is getting increasingly real for feds. This week, the Justice Department said it may shut down some offices around the country. That angered attorneys working in those cities… and the Government Accountability Office said it may have to consider ferloughs if proposed budget cuts pass.
Very serious issues, but could there be austerity hype? For government tech, maybe, at least according to immixGroup’s Market Intelligence organization. It presented it’s assessment of the budget this week. They said that while continuing resolutions and ongoing budget cuts will have an impact, most federal IT spending requests are slightly ahead of 2011 levels, with buying trends expected to emphasize telework/mobile computing, cloud computing/virtualization, and cybersecurity.
A few other quick money items:
* The unemployment rate for veterans is outpacing the rate for civilians. The Washington Post has the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that showed the unemployement rate for veterans at nearly 12 percent, well above the overall jobless rate of about 9.1 percent.
* And we told you last week about Moneyball managers. Politico this week has the story about Moneyball economics. And they quote White House Office of Management and Budget Associate Director for Performance and Personnel Management Shelley Metzenbaum, who wrote an OMB blog post talking about the Moneyball book and film. Moneyball is about the baseball manager who uses… atypical data to make decisions… Metzenbaum says that could be a model for government agencies. (NOTE: Updated 10.23 to include Metzenbaum’s OMB blog post on the topic.)
The defense story of the week… from the New York Times, which reported that the Obama administration considered using cyber-attacks on Lybian leaders to disrupt and disable the Qaddafi government, but eventually decided to use traditional air strikes. (Last week, we spoke to Mark Bowden – the author and journalist. His most famous work is Black Hawk Down, but his most recent book is Worm: The First Digital World War. Hear that conversation here.)
Our procurement story of the week… The Government Accountability Office sustained a protest of the General Services Administration’s cloud computing contract. GAO essentially recommended a do over. We have a link to Washington Technology’s story and the GAO decision — read it for yourself.
A few big management stories this week…
The 7,000 memmbers of the Senior Executive Service — you’re going to be getting a new performance management system… and soon. Federal Times reports the new system, being finalized by the Office of Management and Budget, aims to evaluate SES members on how well they demonstrate the SES’s five “core qualifications”: leading people, leading change, business acumen, building coalitions and being results driven.
And the management of government technology… specifically… the role of the CIO…
GAO put out its assessment on the role of the federal chief information officer. What is probably little shock to anybody: GAO found that CIOs don’t fully have a full seat at the leadership table in many agencies. (AFFIRM will be holding it’s own assessment on the changing role of the CIO at it’s lunch on November 16.)
Meanwhile, the Federal CIO Council put out it’s thoughts on the critically of what are called integrated program teams. We’ll have more on this later, but you can read why the Federal CIO Council believe they are important online… dorobek insider dot com… and insights.govloop.com.
And just in case you think managing technology is easy, a story out of Canada where that government’s CIO said that it could take a decade to remake that country’s IT structure.
Finally, the Wall Street Journal had a story this week about ways of updating the suggestion box. And we’ve seen that across government. TSA — and now DHS — have their Idea Factory. But here is a way to have your say on waste. the National Academy of Public Administration and the Recovery, Accountability and Transparency Board are looking for your insights on how to find waste, fraud and abuse. You can have your say at fedaccountabilitydialogue.net.
I should mention that the Journal also had a story about the trials and tribulations of having these kinds of open forums. The Journal notes that a White House promised to answer questions raised in an online petition. One petition wants to legalize raw milk sales. Others seek to mandate the spaying and neutering of pets, abolish the Transportation Security Administration and even to “formally acknowledge an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race.” There is even one to save the Postal Service. There you go.
All of that aside, our issue of the week… is about innovation.
There were a few stories this week about different agencies seeking different ways to be innovative. The New York Times reports that the postal union representing letter carriers’ has hired a former investment banker, and a the financial firm to help craft a plan to breathe some life into the ailing postal service.
There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about how the government can be innovative. Next week, at the Industry Advisory Council’s Executive Leadership Conference, a big focus will be on innovation. And, in fact, we are going to try something a big different — maybe even innovative. As part of that discussion, there will be an UN-session. You have have heard of an un-conference. These are where you don’t have a panel — or even an agenda. You have… well, the people in the room. You tap the wisdom of crowds. At ELC, we are doing an UN-session. When I say we, the UN-session is going to be guided by me… and Kathy Conrad… she is the principal deputy associate administrator of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.
I asked her to join me this week to talk about government and innovation… and she says that the government isn’t given enough credit for its innovation — even by government employees…
Kathy Conrad… she is the principal deputy associate administrator of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.
Now there are ways that YOU can participate. I’ll post some of our thoughts this weekend on on DorobekINSIDER… and we are creating a GovLoop discussion where you can offer your thoughts… and we are giving people at ELC homework — what are they going to do to be… innovative. And we’re going to follow up and see what works — and what doesn’t. And we hope you will join us for all of that.
And that is our question of the week — what are the biggest challenges to innovation in your organization?
It’s GovLoop — so we’d love to get your thoughts.